The identification of a new potential therapeutic target against osteoarthritis is reported in Nature Medicine.
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease of the joints that leads to the progressive destruction of cartilage. A molecule known as ADAMTS-5 is known to be crucial for cartilage breakdown in patients with this disease.
Frank Echtermeyer and his colleagues now report that syndecan-4, a membrane protein, is specifically found on cartilage cells both in humans and mice with osteoarthritis. Moreover, the loss of syndecan-4 protected mice from osteoarthritic damage. The scientists found that syndecan-4 inhibition significantly decrease the activity of ADAMTS-5, thereby disclosing a previously unknown mechanism for the action of the ADAMTS-5 molecule.
These data indicate that strategies aimed at the inhibition of syndecan-4 could be of great value for the treatment of cartilage damage in osteoarthritis.
Frank Echtermeyer (Medical University Hannover, Germany)
Thomas Pap (University Hospital Munster, Germany)
Abstract available online.
(C) Nature Medicine.
Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza